Following a 15-day break (the final one of the campaign) for the latest round of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers, Europe's major leagues get back to business this weekend. Ahead lie two months of intense competition to decide who will take the season's domestic spoils.
Premier League: United keen to reassert themselves
Now that a euphoric Liverpool have cut their lead to just one point, albeit having played one game more, the time has come for Manchester United to recover their poise after a troubling March. Sir Alex Ferguson's side have nine games left to make the title theirs, starting with the visit of an Aston Villa side equally anxious for points after slipping out of the UEFA Champions League places.
Liverpool travel to mid-table Fulham, who are still buoyant after defeating the Red Devils 2-0 in their last game, while third-placed Chelsea visit Newcastle United, who will have Alan Shearer at their reins for the first time. A resurgent Arsenal welcome back Cesc Fabregas for the visit of Manchester City, and will look to consolidate their all-important fourth place.
The question: Do Aston Villa have the resources to unsettle Manchester United?
The big game: Manchester United-Aston Villa, Sunday 5 April, 17.00 CET, Old Trafford.
The quote: "We've got a massive fight on our hands, in very difficult circumstances, we've got injuries - but we'll face it head on and give it a right good go," Newcastle United's new manager Alan Shearer.
La Liga: Leaders hit the road
The top four in Spain are all away this weekend and, in theory at least, should all return home with maximum points. Barcelona take a trip to ninth-placed Valladolid, while closest chasers Real Madrid, who lie six points behind the leaders, visit a Malaga side just five points adrift of the European places.
Sevilla will be hoping to tighten their grip on third when they make the short trip to Huelva to take on Recreativo, and Villarreal have an away day at Almeria.
The question: Will any of the leading quartet stumble on their travels this weekend?
The big game: Malaga-Real Madrid, Saturday 4 April, 22.00 CET, La Rosaleda
The quote: "We need to treat each game now as if it were a final. Our direct rivals for the European places all have difficult games ahead of them and we need to capitalise on that," Atletico Madrid midfielder Paulo Assuncao.
Serie A: All eyes on fourth
With Inter Milan holding a seemingly impregnable seven-point lead over Juventus and 12 over AC Milan, most of the attention this weekend will centre on the continuing fight for fourth place and the final Champions League berth.
Current occupants Genoa face what appears to be a comfortable trip to bottom-placed Reggina. Two points behind them in fifth lie Fiorentina, who take on Atalanta in Bergamo, and one place and three points further behind stand Roma. I Giallorossi need a win at home to maintain realistic hopes of catching Genoa and keeping their collection of stars together for next season.
The question: Do Juventus still have time to catch Inter Milan?
The big game: Juventus-Chievo, Sunday 5 April, 15.00 CET, Stadio Olimpico
The quote: "When my contract with Inter comes to an end next season I won't be staying in Italy. I want to go to Spain because my aim is to win the title in the three most competitive leagues in the world," Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho.
Bundesliga: Pretenders face off
Tied in second, just one point behind Hertha Berlin, and boasting the same goal difference, Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich have the chance to break free of each other when they meet on Saturday. Fourth-placed Hamburg have the same number of points as the two sides above them, and will have an opportunity to leapfrog them and go top themselves if they beat Hoffenheim in fifth.
Hertha, who entertain Borussia Dortmund, will be hoping those two games both end in draws and allow them to re-establish some authority after tripping up against Stuttgart a fortnight ago.
The question: Can Bayern Munich return to the top of the table after a lengthy absence?
The big game: Wolfsburg-Bayern Munich, Saturday 4 April, 15.30 CET, Volkswagen Arena
The quote: "There is no doubt this game will have a huge bearing on who wins the title," Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Ligue 1: Six points, one match
Only four points separates the top six sides in France, with four of the championship contenders all playing away this weekend. In travelling to Le Mans and St Etienne respectively, the leading duo of Lyon and Marseille face the most dangerous assignments, while Bordeaux can give themselves a chance to close the gap if they beat Nancy at home.
With Lyon lacking the authority of previous seasons, Toulouse, Lille and Paris Saint-Germain are also well in contention as an unexpectedly tight championship race continues to enthral. Respective victories for them against Caen, Nantes and Nice could make the run-in even more gripping.
The question: Will Bordeaux be topping the table come Sunday evening?
The big game: Saint Etienne-Marseille, Sunday 5 April, 21.00 CET, Stade Geoffroy Guichard
The quote: "We have a tough end to the season ahead of us and if we can be consistent and effective it will make all the difference. We are not immune to bad results but the most important thing is to bounce back straight away," Lyon midfielder Jean II Makoun.
The highlight of Matchday 22 in the Czech Republic is the meeting between Sparta Prague and Slovan Liberec, the two sides immediately behind table-topping Slavia Prague.
Over in Belgium, frontrunners Anderlecht have an awkward trip to Lokeren to contend with. Waiting to pounce are Standard Liege in second, who have an altogether easier task at Germinal Beerschot.
Meantime, in Switzerland the top two renew their duel, with leaders Basel away at Bellinzona and second-placed Zurich, a single point adrift, playing host to Aarau.
Manchester United-Aston Villa, Hamburg-Hoffenheim and Atalanta-Fiorentina are among the matches on the FIFA World Leagues Predictor's Round 29 menu. If you haven't already, be sure to sign up and take a shot at winning this weekend's prize.